The national conversation

“News organizations are a public trust with an ability to inform and influence the national conversation.” ~ Charlie Skinner on The Newsroom

The Newsroom is an idealist view into what the nightly news should be and what journalists should be like. It’s to the media what The West Wing was to the White House and the Presidential office. It’s a reminder of what the media once was, what it should be, and what it could be. While Charlie argues with the corporate owner of the news group who is beholden to her shareholders (due to the fiduciary responsibilities every public company has), I am reminded of how strongly the media is run by corporations. How the news we watch, hear, and read is influenced by corporate interests. Leona, the owner of the fictitious news group on The Newsroom, mentions how the people have elected what Charlie refers to as the most moronic Congress ever (the 112th Congress, January 2011-December 2012).

And I ponder how the media helped play a role in that…by not informing, but by negatively influencing the national conversation. By not increasing public knowledge on important issues, but by dumbing down. By focusing on the unimportant. The fake. The false. News was not about the real. The facts. But the twisted. Even the false. News coverage becomes dumber, Americans become dumber, politicians become dumber, and the cycle continues.

Which brings me back to the quote from Charlie: “News organizations are a public trust with an ability to inform and influence the national conversation.” News and corporate interests do not mix. Just like politicians and corporations do not mix. And the national conversation? It has been anything but.

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